Monthly Archives: January 2009

“Where is your compassion?”

One of the first big Oscar contenders of the season, Doubt is a story about assumption and suspicion, accusation and innocence set inside a Catholic school. And of course its deep subject matter makes it a subject much too serious to make fun of. Well, maybe a little.

In Doubt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays Father Flynn, a Catholic priest who’s accused of sexually harassing a twelve-year-old boy after meeting privately with him by Sister Aloysius, played by Meryl Streep. Even though she has no proof whatsoever, Sister Aloysius feels justified in her accusations because of a certain… je ne sais quoi. For whatever reason, she just knows he’s guilty, and spends the rest of the movie stomping around in righteous indignation making hollow threats, and frightening Amy Adams.

This past week, Doubt was nominated for five Academy Awards, including adapted screenplay and noms for all of its principals. I agree with all of them except for Viola Davis, who played Donald Miller’s mother. I’m sure there were people leaping to their feet screaming, “Brilliant!” after seeing her five minutes in the movie, but I didn’t think her performance was necessarily Oscar-worthy. Competent, but that was about it. Everyone else is great. I’ve always been a big Phillip Seymour Hoffman fan, and really enjoy seeing his take on different characters. He seems to be drawn toward those who are always carrying some great weight on their shoulders, and after so long are just tired. After insisting throughout the entire movie that he is innocent, one sees how Sister Aloysius’ accusations have worn on him.

In case you forgot, Amy Adams is also in the movie. After seeing Hoffman’s and Streep’s performances, Adams looks like little more than window dressing, but it’s cute window dressing, and I’m happy to see how far she’s come since I first saw her selling purses on The Office.

Watching this movie renewed my deep, passionate hatred for Meryl Streep, which I guess is proof that she really is a good actress. But man, I really hated her in this movie. The ending is left very ambiguous, and rightfully so, but there’s a good scene that I won’t ruin where she questions whether or not she did the right thing. I won’t make predictions on how many Oscars this one will walk away with, because it’s going up against some pretty stiff competition, and has a pretty good chance of being swept by Slumdog Millionaire, but if you’ve got a chance to check this out, you should definitely take it. A

TRAILER MONDAY

It’s the start of a new year, and now that the Oscar nominations have already been announced, the crop of good, art house films will clear out, making way for the pure shit more palatable to the modern movie-goer. Let’s preview!

On February 6th, Push will continue the fine tradition began by Jumper in 2008. Specifically, that of ruining science fiction forever. I’m not exactly sure what’s being pushed here, and judging from the pictures I’ve seen of Dakota Fanning slutting it up, I’m not sure I want to.

Later this month, Liam Neeson will star in Taken, in which he must rescue his kidnapped daughter, played by Maggie Grace, from a life of sexual slavery. Anyone who knows Grace from her work on Lost wishes he would just leave her there.

In April, Universal will release State of Play, a political thriller in which Russel Crowe will attempt to look even more hardcore by growing his hair out long and not shaving. Crowe turned down the lead in FOX’s The Dirty Hippie to play this role instead. Will it pay off? Crowe and Universal are betting it will.

“Is this how it ends?”

Hey, remember this movie? A lot of people look at remakes of classic movies and say, “What’s the point?” It’s a good question. Are remakes necessary? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I’d much rather sit in a dark movie theater and turn my brain off for an hour and a half.

In The Day the Earth Stood Still, the planet is besieged by floating spheres and the alien Klaatu – deftly played by the robotic Keanu Reeves – who announces that because of their poo-pooing of the environment, humans have been weighed in the balance, and found wanting. Balancing out Keanu’s solid-as-a-rock performance is Jennifer Connelly, who has to convince Klaatu that humans aren’t all that bad, if only they’d give them a chance. Will we survive? I’ll give you two guesses, but you’re only going to need one.

Now, the fanboy in me jumped up and cheered when I first saw the trailer for this one. It looks really slick, and the premise held a lot of potential. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as it went. A lot of potential that really wasn’t lived up to. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I found the movie unenjoyable, but when it was over, I felt like there was a good chunk I hadn’t been shown. In the beginning, Klaatu believes that humans are destroying the planet, and should themselves be destroyed, then he doesn’t. Certain plot points, including a really good exchange with John Cleese, are really never followed.

While the original movie was an indictment of the US/Soviet arms race and nuclear weapons in general, this is takes aim at our environmental problems. I’m sure there are a good chunk of reviewers who say they didn’t like the movie because it was too “preachy.” It’s a word that’s thrown around way too much with these sorts of movies. Are movies not allowed to talk about the environment and how badly we’re screwing it up just because they might sound preachy? Who cares? Saying, “Well that’s just too preachy,” doesn’t negate the fact that it’s true. And if you’re not going to like the movie, there are plenty of other reasons besides a PSA on the environment.

In the end, a movie that’s well-acted, and interesting to a point, but if they were only going to off half-cocked, they probably should have just left well enough alone. Because this one is no longer in theaters, skip going to the theaters for this one. C+

Flash!

It’s the dawn of a new age, everyone! Move It Move It is back… only to go back on vacation! The wife and I were given the chance to go to the Obama inauguration, and we jumped on it. Of course, this means delaying the much-anticipated premiere of LOSTWATCH!! season 5 for a few days, but I’ve been doing such a shitty job with this blog lately that you’ll barely notice! So, I greatly appreciate the patience, and we’ll be back at the end of the week!

2009 Beetches!

And thus ends 2008. So long, stink year! Happy 2009, everyone!